Assessing prospects for adequate service delivery in a rural South African municipality : a case stuy of Engcobo Municipality

Luwaga, Lydia (2003-12)

Thesis (MPA)--Stellenbosch University, 2003.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This research analyses traditional public sector delivery impediments and the resultant reforms which have emanated from these impediments, how the reforms have been implemented in the developed and developing countries and the challenges facing rural local government structures, which must implement alternative service delivery mechanisms at the grassroots level in South Africa. The research further explores external and internal issues affecting public service delivery in general, and then concludes by exploring the local government and rural development realities in South Africa. The developmental divide between developed and developing countries is increasing for various reasons, among them, the public management reforms that have enhanced performance in developed countries, but cannot do the same in developing countries due to the overwhelming constraints. Developing countries experience constraints which include vague definitions of what performance entails in a developing context, unresponsive organisational cultures, unclear performance indicators, a resilient ethos of governance, unfavourable organisational factors, incorrect use of resources and unsuccessful policy initiatives. A literature review has shown that ideological contradictions, lack of a common vision and policy process constraints are also hampering South African public sector service delivery processes. Although local government legislation and reforms have freed municipalities from many impediments to improve delivery, the huge service backlog, infrastructure neglect, lack of integration with other spheres of government, lack of capacity, the impact of HIV/AIDS and the culture of non-payment are still eroding that ability, especially in rural areas. In addition, rural areas have even greater levels of underdevelopment, poverty and service backlogs and consequently municipal structures in deep rural areas carry less legitimacy. The ethnographic research chapter focuses on a rural municipality in South Africa, Engcobo, and on how effectively it will be able to deliver the required municipal services in the absence of resources and amid a culture of non-payment for services, a huge unemployment rate and escalating HIV/AIDS in the area. Local economic development will be hard to realise because the municipality faces the constraints of finance, the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, lack of institutional skills and inadequate infrastructure to foster and drive developmental local government. The premise, that such a municipality cannot deliver the expanded local government designated services while it faces the above internal constraints and external ones that emanate from the traditional public sector context, the global economic set up and the South Africa national government constraints, is qualified in this research. Amid the magnitude of the service backlogs, delivering the basic services in Engcobo Municipality will require sustainable funds and skills currently lacking. Engcobo Municipality does not have the required capacity to deliver the designated services for local government and neither will this capacity be built up in the short term. A number of recommendations for improving on the prospects are nevertheless made. These recommendations focus on institutional development and capacity building, improving financial viability, harnessing profit in service delivery, public participation, partnership arrangements, dealing with HIV/AIDS, infrastructure development as well as waste and environmental management.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie navorsing analiseer die tradisionele hindernisse vir openbare sektor dienslewering en die hervormings wat daaruit voortspruit, hoe die hervormings uitgevoer is in ontwikkelde en ontwikkelende lande en die uitdagings van landelike plaaslike regeringsstrukture wat die implimentering van alternatiewe diensleweringsmeganismes op voetsoolvlak in Suid Afrika in die gesig staar. Die navorsing ondersoek verder die eksterne en interne aspekte wat openbare sektor dienslewering oor die algemeen beïnvloed, en ondersoek dan plaaslike regering en landelik ontwikkelingsrealiteite. Die ontwikkelingsskeiding tussen ontwikkelde en ontwikkelende lande vergroot vir verskeie redes, insluitend die openbare bestuurshervormings wat prestasie in ontwikkelde lande verbeter het, maar wat nie dieselfde doen in ontwikkelende lande nie, weens oorweldigende beperkings. Ontwikkelende lande ondervind beperkings wat vae definisies oor wat prestasie in 'n ontwikkelende konteks behels, insluit, onresponsiewe organisatoriese kulture, onduidelike prestasie-indikatore, 'n elastiese karakter van regeerkunde, ongunstige organisatoriese faktore, verkeerde gebruik van hulpbronne en onsuksesvolle beleidsinisiatiewe. 'n Literatuuroorsig het getoon dat ideologiese teenstrydighede, gebrek aan 'n gemeenskaplike visie en beleidsproses beperkinge ook Suid Afrikaanse openbare sektor diensleweringsprosesse aan bande lê. Alhoewel die wetgewing oor plaaslike regering en hervormings munisipaliteite bevry het van baie hindernisse om lewering te verbeter, veroorsaak die enorme diensagterstand, die verwaarlosing van die infrastruktuur, die gebrek aan integrasie met ander sfere van regering, die gebrek aan kapasiteit, die impak van HIV/VIGS en die kultuur van nie-betaling nog steeds dat diensleweringsvermoë aangetas word, veral in die landelike gebiede. Boonop, het landelike gebiede nog groter vlakke van onderontwikkeling, armoede en diensagterstande en dus geniet munisipale strukture in diep landelike gebiede minder legitimiteit. Die etnografiese navorsingshoofstuk fokus op 'n landelike munisipaliteit in Suid Afrika, Engcobo, en hoe effektief die munisipaliteit in staat is om verlangde munisipale dienste te lewer te midde van die afwesigheid van hulpbronne en te midde van 'n kultuur van niebetaling vir dienste, enorme werkloosheid en stygende HIV/VIGS in die area. Plaaslike ekonomiese ontwikkeling sal moeilik wees om te realiseer omdat die munisipaliteit die beperkinge van onvoldoende fondse, HIV/VIGS, 'n gebrek aan institusionele bekwaamhede en 'n onvoldoende infrastruktuur om ontwikkelende plaaslike regering te bevorder en te bestuur, in die gesig staar. Die premis dat so 'n munisipaliteit nie die aangewese uitgebreide plaaslike regeringsdienste kan lewer terwyl dit die interne gedwongendhede en eksterne beperkinge voortspruitend uit die konteks van 'n tradisionele openbare sektor, die globale ekonomiese opset en die gedwongendhede van die Suid Afrikaanse nasionale regering in die gesig staar nie, word met hierdie navorsing gekwalifiseer. Te midde van die omvang van diensagterstande, sal die lewering van basiese dienste in Engcobo Munisipaliteit genoegsame fondse en vaardighede wat tans ontbreek, benodig. Engcobo Munisipaliteit het nie die vereiste kapasiteit om die aangewese dienste vir plaaslike regering te lewer nie en ewemin sal hierdie kapasiteit oor die korttermyn opgebou word. 'n Aantal aanbevelings ter verbetering van die vooruitsigte word nietemin gemaak. Hierdie aanbevelings fokus op institusionele ontwikkeling en kapasiteitsbou, verbetering van finansiële lewensvatbaarheid, aanwending van die winsmotief in dienslewering, publieke deelname, vennootskapsreëlings, hantering van MIV/VIGS, infrastruktuur ontwikkeling sowel as afval en omgewingsbestuur.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/53297
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